Kargil Vijay Diwas, observed on July 26 to celebrate the 1999 Kargil War, will be a special day for Shivappa Jagapur, who fought in the Kargil War as a Border Security Force (BSF) soldier.
Hailing from Nagavi village in Gadag district, Jagapur, sustained injuries in the Kargil War. In 2006, he was selected as a member of the Special Protection Group (SPG), a central armed f orce vested with the responsibility of providing security to the Prime Minister, former PMs, along with their immediate family members. In May, he received the SPG (Special Duty) Police medal, in recognition of completing 10 years with the SPG. “I dedicate the SPG medal to my colleagues and seniors, who laid down their lives in the Kargil War,” Jagapur told TOI.
Back with the BSF now, he has been deployed at naxal-infested Kanker district, Chhattisgarh. Jagapur recalled how he had asked his parents to put his wedding preparations on hold, when he was called up to Kargil in 1999.
Jagapur was excited as he recalled the shelling at Patthar post on the border. “Many bombs were hurled close to us. On May 26, 1999, DC Yadav, whom we looked up to as a parent figure, died. I still remember that day – India was playing Sri Lanka in the cricket World Cup – and Yadav’s waist was ripped apart when he was coming towards us,” he said.
Shrapnel from bullets got lodged in Jagapur’s thigh during a heavy onslaught on July 22, 1999. “I was admitted to the Shaineguda BSF Hospital. An x-ray detected bullet pieces in my thigh and I was shifted to a Srinagar hospital later. Once normalcy returned on the border, we were permitted to return to our villages,” he added.
Jagapur’s elder brother Hulkoti, a teacher in Gadag, said that they had been very anxious during that period. “Our mother prayed and lit an oil lamp every day. She prayed for the wellbeing of all soldiers,” Hulkoti said.